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Hospital leaders address capacity and urge Acadiana community to follow guidelines

Posted at 10:59 PM, Jul 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-23 23:59:54-04

Tonight, Governor John Bel Edwards is warning Louisiana about the latest threat to healthcare caused by the Coronavirus.

"What worries me most is the toll the latest resurgence is taking on our capacity to deliver health care and the impact it's having on our healthcare professions: Our Doctors, our nurses, all the way down to EMTs and paramedics, and everybody in between," Governor Edwards said.

Also sounding the alarm, the chief medical officers at Our Lady of Lourdes and Lafayette General Health.

This comes on a day in which the state reported nearly 2300 new COVID-19 cases. Locally, Lafayette Parish continues to outpace other Acadiana parishes, recording triple digit totals for the second day in a row. Meanwhile, 13 of the 16 new COVID deaths come from either Acadiana or southwest Louisiana.

The chief medical officers of LGH and Lourdes joined the Governor for today's news conference. They're pleading for people to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

"When you're used to conducting yourself one way and we go through something like this, it is very hard for people to total change gears and stay away from people they would hang out with, wear a mask, keep their distance. It's just not what we'd normally do," said Dr. Amanda Logue, the Chief Medical Officer at Lafayette General Health.

Dr. Logue says it's time to flatten the curve once and for all. She says our region is seeing a rapid increase of community spread and following that is an increase in hospitalizations.

"We work every single day and every single hour practically to move people and shuffle them around to make sure they have a safe place to stay and get care. It's really tight right now," Dr. Logue said.

LGH has had to transfer patients out of area to Rapides Parish and other parts of the state. The LGH main campus has half of its ICU and one third of non-ICU patients fighting COVID-19.

"We have our normal volume of patients we always take care of layered with a large number suffering from COVID-19," Dr. Logue said. "There's just not enough room for that to all happen in one place."

Dr. Henry Kaufmann, Chief Medical Officer at Our Lady of Lourdes says his hospital has seen a 300% increase in cases from what they saw during the initial wave of COVID-19 in Acadiana.

"There are ways of flexing up our beds and flexing up our capacity, the problem is all of those mechanisms are in place right now," Dr. Kaufmann said.

He says the surge in patients has significantly affected hospital operations and that they have almost completely eliminated elective surgeries at the hospital over the last two weeks.

"Elective surgeries might be a cancer operation, a heart bypass, it might be getting a pace maker. These are real surgeries that have a significant impact on someone's health. We don't see an end in sight right now and you can only delay these things so long before they begin to have a negative impact on the patient," Dr. Kaufmann said.

Dr. Logue said that she still wants the community to know that if anyone needs emergency care then they should still come to the Emergency Room and doesn't want anybody to be afraid to get emergency medical service if they need it.

LGH and Lourdes noted their staff have been doing a great job treating patients, but the rate they're continuing to work at is not sustainable. We asked if it is possible to recruit staff from out of state and we were told they're exploring all options to increase staff, but quite simply, the whole nation is battling this pandemic.

Both Dr. Logue and Dr. Kaufmann urged Acadiana residents to follow the guidelines in place for people to wash their hands, practice social distancing of 6 feet, avoid large crowds and wear masks when leaving their homes.

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